Wastewater

Wikimedia Commons

The Exchange discussed New Hampshire's infrastructure issues over a series of shows this year. The American Society of Civil Engineers released their 2017 report card in March, giving New Hampshire a C- overall, with further grades for specific categories, including roads, dams, and drinking water.

Read on for highlights and links to each show, and also for links to additional coverage of New Hampshire's infrastructure. 

www.ci.durham.nh.us

State and federal officials plan to release dye into the Oyster River this week in an effort to study how water flows from a sewage plant along the river.

Beginning Tuesday night, officials with state and federal environmental agencies will inject a reddish dye into the town of Durham’s wastewater treatment plant for about 12 hours.

The experiment is designed to shed light on how wastewater flows from the plant. It could lead to new boundaries for where shellfish harvesting is allowed.

Chris Nash is with the state Department of Environmental Services.

www.infrastructurereportcard.org

The American Society of Civil Engineers has released their 2017 report card on New Hampshire’s infrastructure -- and the state is far from the honor roll.

Allegra Boverman

  In a letter to new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Governor Chris Sununu complains that federal regulations on storm water runoff are too burdensome for some New Hampshire towns.

The regulations, known as MS4 permits, are meant to reduce the amount of pollutants that get discharged into bodies of water via storm water runoff from developed areas.

They would require dozens of towns in New Hampshire to make significant investments in their storm water drainage systems to comply.

Fred McNeill

Too often, says civil engineer Fred McNeill, it takes a disaster – sinkholes swallowing cars or dam bursts flooding communities -- to get the attention of officials and others who fund the underpinnings of wastewater treatment and dam infrastructure.  

Amy Quinton; NHPR

Officials overseeing the state’s dams and wastewater treatment plants say they’re heartened by calls for more investment in infrastructure by Governor Sununu and President Trump.

But they're also alarmed by the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to the EPA.

Speaking on The Exchange, Fred McNeill, Chief Engineer at Manchester’s Environmental Protection Division, says the EPA funds several state positions that help maintain and improve the city’s one thousand miles of underground water infrastructure.  McNeill is concerned these jobs may now be eliminated.

Kieth Shields; NHPR

A continuation of our series on New Hampshire infrastructure: wastewater and dam structures are old, crumbling, and vulnerable to severe weather. Intense storms, flooding, and drought have all contributed to the damage, and many of our dams and underground pipes are over 100 years old. We'll discuss the challenges with tackling this problem, including lack of funding, and stricter regulation requirements.


via Portsmouthwastewater.com

A group of residents in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, have sued the city, state, and federal government, saying an upgraded wastewater treatment plant under construction lacks the capacity to handle sewer needs.

The Portsmouth Herald reports the group filed the suit in federal court in Concord on Wednesday under provisions of the Clean Water Act. It also believes the Peirce Island plant is using the wrong technology because the city wanted to build it there, rather than at Pease International Tradeport.

Photo via bringfido.com

A federal judge in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has rejected a request to delay ruling on a deal to upgrade the Peirce Island wastewater plant.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that the tentative deal between Portsmouth and the federal Environmental Protection Agency spells out the type of sewer plant the city must build on the island and its timeline for construction.

via Portsmouthwastewater.com

The Environmental Protection Agency has asked a federal judge to approve a deal reached with the city of Portsmouth about an $83.4 million plan to upgrade the existing Peirce Island wastewater treatment plant.

The Portsmouth Herald reports that the agreement, called the second consent decree, lays out the timetable for building the new plant. It has to be entered by the court before it can go into effect.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Earlier this week, the city of Portsmouth approved 75 million dollars in bonds to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant on Peirce Island. The vote by the city council is a milestone in the years-long effort by federal and state regulators to clean up Great Bay.

Sustainable Sanitation via Flickr Creative Commons

More than a third of the world’s population don’t have access to clean, safe toilets. It’s a humanitarian and global health hazard, that the world bank drains $260 billion off the global economy each year. The Gates Foundation challenged engineers to develop commodes that are clean, cheap, and don’t require electricity, a sewage system, or even water. But as with and new product, you have to test it. That’s where John Koeller comes in. He’s principal engineer at Maximum Performance, a company who tests toilet efficiency, using its own – ahem—patented material.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Several   seacoast communities have been ordered to upgrade their waste-water treatment plants by the EPA.But towns are pushing back on the question of how much the plants need to improve.

Durham is in that boat. The town is trying a new approach to pollution control called adaptive management. And depending on how things go for Durham, this could be the way the way towns and the EPA will resolve difficult and expensive water problems going forward.

The Nitrogen Numbers

E.P.A. Proposes Lower Nitrogen Limit For Portsmouth

Aug 3, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a higher limit for Nitrogen discharge from Portsmouth’s wastewater treatment plant.  But city officials are still unsure whether it will actually save the city money.

Sam Evans-Brown

 

Representatives of five New Hampshire towns say the Environmental Protection Agency is imposing wastewater limits on the Great Bay that are a financial burden. They made their case to two members of the Congressional Committee on Oversight at a field hearing held in Exeter Monday. While towns and regulators haggle over the cost of improving waste water treatment, time may be running out for the Great Bay estuary.

A Contentious Issue